Jaguar F-Pace key to brand relevance in Australia, says local JLR boss
The Jaguar F-Pace has launched in Australia and it’s got an epic mission, and that is, says Jaguar Land Rover Australia’s boss, to make the brand relevant. No pressure, then.
THE JAGUAR F-PACE has been launched in Australia and will go on-sale in August. The very existence of the vehicle is more important than the fact it’s the brand’s first-ever SUV. See, according to Jaguar Land Rover Australia boss, Mathew Wiesner, the F-Pace is the “vehicle that will take Jaguar into regional Australia”.
And it will do that, he said, via the country’s Land Rover dealerships, many of which are in regional centres, and bolting-on Jaguar to their offering. There will also be new sites with the brand pushing from 21 to 45 dealerships by the middle of next year (2017). “There’s about $120-$150 million worth of investment going into the network,” Wiesner told Practical Motoring.
“We’ve updated our sales forecasts about three times since we announced this car was coming… and that’s been based on interest and excitement, our own, our dealers and customers.
“Once we sat in the car and drove it we knew it was a fantastic package and an exciting point of difference in our range. And that includes our Land Rover and Range Rover products; the F-Pace sits in there and has its own character.
“We’ll have an expanded dealer network of around 45 by this time next year, or maybe a bit earlier. And also the segment is expanding rapidly, and so we’ve fought pretty hard for additional distribution,” Wiesner told Practical Motoring. “We’ll probably have around 1500 units for this business year but then there will probably be a bit of a wait although it’s hard to tell just how long that will be.”
“This vehicle [jaguar f-pace] in this segment now makes Jaguar relevant
The F-Pace, Wiesner said, isn’t intended to ape what Land Rover does what it’s product and so as an SUV is less about rough road capability and more about delivering driving dynamics and performance. And it seems the F-Pace might be doing more than just offering buyers a performance SUV, it’s also, he said, wooing female buyers who are attracted by the styling and then won over by the practicality it offers.
“Potential buyers, particularly women, are discovering it’s not quite as compact as some in the segment; it’s got a very usable boot and there’s room for a family; it adds more opportunity for the Jaguar brand.” Basically, what Wiesner is saying is that the F-Pace will be the Jaguar that attracts new buyers to the brand, rather than the rusted-on Jaguar loyalists. Indeed, Jaguar predicts a 90% conquest rate for the F-Pace.
A transformative model for Jaguar, Wiesner said: “This vehicle in this segment now makes Jaguar relevant… Let’s face it, Jaguar wasn’t one of the brands that held any great appeal for female drivers, and now we’ve got products here that fill that gap.”
So, with the F-Pace as Jaguar’s toe in the water of the SUV world and with that world booming at the moment, will we see a smaller SUV from Jaguar? It’s very likely, and while Wiesner didn’t admit as much he did say: “You’d have to think all things would be considered especially as the F-Pace shows what a Jaguar interpretation of an SUV can be, and look how the markets are evolving. We’ve got to produce cars that people want to buy.”